Thursday, January 6, 2011

McTage's MMF Clouser (Clouser Foxee Redd Minnow Variant)

What makes a fly a new fly worthy of a new name and identity? That is a difficult question. I have always called this fly the MMF (short for Magical Mutha _____). In truth it is a variant on Clouser’s Foxee Redd Minnow but call it what you want.

The MMF came about by accident. My fishing buddy Miles in MI called and asked to meet up on our favorite small-mouth river. Unfortunately he was almost out of his latest fave-fly. "Those little Clousers you showed me…you know the orangish brownish ones with soft fur…they are magical mutha _____s, can you bring some?" he asked.

Miles is the best fisherman I have ever known, but he sometimes forgets how to get to the local grocery store. He was referring to Clousers tied using fluorescent-orange buck-tail and brown synthetic fur. Pike and small-mouth love them, but I had never seen one before.

I had seen some Clouser Foxee Redd Minnows which sounded close enough. 20 minutes later FlyMart Fly Shop (RIP) was out of stock and I was headed to the river for a great day. The Foxee did the best job I had ever seen of duplicating the pulsating motion of a fleeing crayfish. The next day I picked up some arctic fox body hair and went to work.

I didn’t like the Foxee’s extended profile for carp and felt it could do an even better job of mimicking a fleeing crayfish if it was stubbier. Retail arctic fox bears no resemblance to what they use at Umqua either. So my version ended up in different colors, a little bulkier, quite a bit shorter and on a short shank hook. I also tied down the eye-side arctic fox directly behind the eye instead of over-wrapping it down the shank.

In various lengths, weights and sometimes with a twister tail, The MMF is responsible for my biggest carp, pike, trout and many large smallmouth bass. When tied small with small brass eyes and fished on the strip the MMF rocks for aggressive carp. Mudders, some hell-raisers and aggressive cruisers (In what I call "Seek and Destroy Mode") frequently crush this fly. We are not talking gently slurping it off the bottom. Think more along the lines of sledgehammer strikes, on the strip, mid-column! In MI there are lots of aggressive carp, and for about 4 years I used little else.

A large carp in MI once charged this fly, missed it and overshoot several feet. At which point he turned right back around and did it again. And again! Slow learner I guess, but on the 4th charge I waited to set the hook.

There are some issues:
  • Passive carp do not dig the MMF. Not at all. Casual cruisers frequently just follow it out of curiosity. Obsessive tailers either ignore it or spook as you strip it by. As a result, the MMF has been stuck in the box since moving to CO. Hopefully the MMF gets off probation this year since I have slowly figured out where to find more aggressive carp here.
  • Due to high drag and the profile this fly seems to fish poorly on the drop. When targeting carp on the drop I use a related fly I call the scymph. This is true for rivers as well.
  • Arctic fox is among the most inconsistent materials I use, only comes in limited colors and fly shops rarely carry it in all varieties.

  • HOOK:  Size 8 to 10, shorter-shank.  I usually go saltwater.  Gamakatsu SL45 has the right proportions, I have not decided about the black color for this fly yet.
  • EYES:  Small (1/8" or smaller) brass hourglass in gold or copper. 
  • THREAD:  Tan or Brown
  • BOTTOM (Hookside):  Dark natural, olive, light brown or rust arctic fox body fur.
  • TOP (Eye-side):  Light natural or Tan arctic fox body fur.
  • NOTE:  I do not like actic fox tail medallions for this fly.  Too kinky and coarse.
  • FLASH:  0 or 2 strands of gold crystal flash, tied flash-tail (Means it extends slightly past end of fly)
  1. Tie in the eyes figure 8 style on top of the hook shank.
  2. Tie crystal flash in right behind the eyes.
  3. Tie in the top (eye-side) material in front of the eyes.  This should be the lighter colored of the two materials.
  4. Move thread behind eyes.
  5. Fold top (eye-side) material over the valley in the hourglass eyes.
  6. Take one wrap around the fox fur directly behind the eyes WITHOUT the hook shank included.  This will help keep the material from slipping around the shank as you fish this fly.
  7. Tie in the fox fur behind the eyes with 3-4 wraps.  Do no overwrap the material all the way down the shank.
  8. Trim at the front.
  9. Flip the fly.
  10. Tie in the bottom (hook-side) material in front of the eyes which should be the darker of the two colors.
  11. Trim and finish the head of the fly.
  12. Trim the crystal flash just behind the end of the tail.
  13. The lighter colored fur (on top, eye-side) should be just slightly longer than the darker colored fur on bottom.
  14. The finished fly should usually be between 3/4" and 1-1/2" depending upon preference / hooksize. 


  1. Great lookin' flies! I guess I think like a fish...maybe why I am licking the screen now...yum

  2. Thanks Jay! That makes me feel a little less like a creep if I were to want to grab the occasional carp fly at a fly shop or something and take a taste. Not saying I do or anything...just something to think about next time you are sorting flies!

  3. I love carp fishing and I am very interested in knowing any information on them. and your blog really very informative . me I really enjoy your posts keep it up and I am waiting for more pictures keep it up and thanks for sharing. And is a site that provides lots of carp fishing news, carp fishing articles, carp fishing tackle reviews.


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